Setting the Right Expectations for New Blue Jackets Forward Gustav Nyquist

By Sam Blazer on September 1, 2019 at 9:14 am
San Jose Sharks center Gustav Nyquist (14) stands on the ice during the third period against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose.
Darren Yamashita-USA Today Sports

Expectations are always hard to set. Over the years, when you follow the Blue Jackets, different players have had different expectations (and often times, they've fallen short).

Think of Nathan Horton. Marian Gaborik. Jeff Carter. You know how it goes.

In his impressive rookie season, Pierre-Luc Dubois was seen as someone that could make a difference, but didn't necessarily need to be thrown to the wolves right away. He exceeded those expectations, and it made for a very different team. With a star center capable of playing between superstars, the Blue Jackets could be bold.

Now with their free-agent signing of Gustav Nyquist, the team and its fans are going to need to set expectations in a realistic way. Nyquist has always been a solid spectacular player, and make no mistake: he's going to help the Blue Jackets.

Here's the low-down on Nyquist: he's a 40-60 point player at his best, and is likely in the middle of that number during a good year. He is fantastic possession-wise as he seems to always push play in his direction no matter what the situation. Another good sign is that his PDO most seasons has let us know that he isn't playing unsustainably either. He is playing a steady, consistent game.

It is essential that the Blue Jackets got a player like Nyquist to help fill part of the void left by Artemi Panarin. While Panarin is a superstar, Nyquist is the player in your golf scramble that hits it in the fairway every time. You need those types of players to build around. You're never going to have to worry about Nyquist living up to his name.

The trouble starts to come when you compare Nyquist to other players; if that's what you want to do with him and Panarin, you'll get into trouble. He isn't Panarin. He may not even be Atkinson. That's important to keep in mind as the season is coming up–you're only going to disappoint yourself if you don't keep yourself in check.

There may be plenty of games that see Nyquist without a point or a goal, but his contributions go beyond that. He pushes play into the offensive zone, and as long as he continues that trend, it's valuable to a Blue Jackets team that needs to possess the puck, and it will allow other players to get into a functional space. 

Nyquist is going to be the perfect player for others to follow and as an offensive force, he is going to be a positive influence. He isn't a world-beater, but good will be enough for a Blue Jackets team that will need consistency in 2019-20.

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